A $15,418,338 proposed budget was presented at the Clintonville Public School District’s Budget Hearing and Annual Meeting on Monday, Aug. 22.
A proposed tax rate of $10.39 per $1,000 valuation was also introduced.
The district’s actual budget in 2009-10 was $15,848,345.72, and was at $17,268,474.63 for the 2010-11 school year. The tax levy rate was $10.97 during the 2009-10 school year and was $13.17 last year. Last year’s levy was noticeably higher due to the one-year impact of HVAC projects.
“We are dealing with new revenue limits that change what we’re allowed to do,” stated Superintendent Tom O’Toole. “There has been a lot of consternation over changes in legislature. At the beginning of our budget planning for this year, we projected a $2 million shortfall. On Aug. 8, we accepted the tentative levy. We had to make many tough choices in order to get a balanced budget.”
O’Toole noted that the budget and levy may change before alterations to the proposed budget are approved and the levy is finalized on Oct. 24. The third Friday count is on Sept. 16, and numbers from that count will significantly impact the revenue limit and state aid.
“We are anticipating a decline in enrollment again this year,” O’Toole said. “We are projecting about 1,400 students this year, and it could be less than that.” In 2009, the district had 1,533 students; that number dropped to 1,457 in 2010. Finalized aid amounts will be available on Oct. 1, and O’Toole expects state aid to be down once again this year.
“Of our current projected budget, 59.89 percent is state aid,” explained O’Toole. “It was at 67 percent in 2006-07, and now it is below 60 percent. This means we have to make some tough choices in order to get a balanced budget.”
The projected tax levy rate of $10.39 per $1,000 valuation was presented along with two tax examples. For a property valued at $75,000, the estimated tax would be $728, as opposed to $938 last year. For a property valued at $150,000, the estimated tax would be $1,456, versus $1,876 last year. “Property values went down last year, and that could be so this year as well,” commented O’Toole.
O’Toole said future considerations such as state and federal funding, health care costs, energy costs, and legislative requirements for student achievement will have a big impact on the district in the coming years. “We have made a commitment to working on test scores,” O’Toole stated. “It’s tougher to do that with less staff and less funding. As student enrollment declines, it makes the budget tougher and tougher.
“There are some positive signs within our community that we hope will lead to increased enrollment. Walker Forge is expanding, and other industries in Clintonville are showing positive signs,” O’Toole stated, relating that more jobs could bring in more families with students that could enroll in the Clintonville Public School District. “We hope the enrollment trends will stabilize.”
Board President Tim Schultz thanked taxpayers for their continued support of the school district, both financially and through volunteering and other methods of giving to students.
“Our schools are doing pretty well. Our teachers have two years left on their contracts, so we will have time to work through recent changes at the state level that impact contract issues,” Schultz commented. “We are dealing with shrinking enrollment, and we’re attempting to operate as efficiently as possible. Academically, our students are performing above average in many categories on WKCE and MAP tests.
“One of our greatest challenges going forward will be energy costs,” Schultz continued. “Last year, the tax levy was higher due to HVAC projects at the middle school and Dellwood that have now been completed, which will save the district about $50,000 per year in energy costs. That tax levy increase has expired, and this year’s tax levy will reflect that.
“We face difficult and unpopular decisions in the months and years to come,” Schultz stated. “However, we have a good teaching staff and solid administrative team that are working together to help offer the best education we can to our students.”
Schultz and O’Toole went on to speak of some of the many positive opportunities being offered to students, and Board Treasurer Clyde Tellock followed with a presentation outlining fund balances. An annual audit was conducted Aug. 1-3, and a letter is expected in late September to certify that the district’s financial practices are sound.
Twelve resolutions were approved at the meeting. They are as follows:
a. Board member salaries-Judith I. Magee made a motion to increase meeting pay from $80 to $90 and to keep board member salaries the same as the previous year.
b. Levy for General Fund: $3,737,004.
c. Levy for the Debt Service Fund: $1,568,246.
d. Levy for the Community Fund: $373,351.
e. Authorization for the board to engage legal counsel as may become necessary during the 2011-12 school year.
f. Authorization for the board to borrow funds on a short-term basis within limits prescribed by statutes in the event cash flow condition should so necessitate.
g. Authorization for the board to set a date for the Year 2012 Annual Meeting.
h. Authorization for the board to sell surplus equipment and supplies.
i. Authorization for the board to sell property. This resolution was amended to read, “Authorization for the board to sell real property” in order to make a distinction that this refers to real estate.
j. Authorization for the board to lease school property.
k. Authorization for the board to continue to provide school meals to the pupils of the school district and appropriate funds for that purpose.
l. Authorization for the board to provide school transportation.
In other business, the board approved the following:
• Hiring Erika Sween as middle school volleyball coach;
• Hiring Todd Taylor as middle school football coach;
• Hiring Roxy Barker to a 2 hours per day Para I position;
• Changing hours for Heidi Green from 18.25 hours per week to 19 hours per week; and
• A voluntary change in assignment for Heather Long to 80 percent high school FACE/Student Success and 20 percent middle school FACE 8.
The first day of school for grades PK-9 is Tuesday, Sept. 6. The first day of school for grades 10-12 is Wednesday, Sept. 7. The next school board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, in the middle school IMC.